HanWay Films is understood to have closed two major deals on its Luciano Pavarotti documentary, which Ron Howard trumpeted to AFM buyers at a sizzle reel presentation at Shutters on the Beach on Saturday .
“I had no idea how charismatic he was,” Howard said of the late Italian tenor, whom he had admired from afar despite not being an opera aficionado prior to embarking on his third documentary.
Now in the final stages of a project that started two years ago and is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2019, Howard told Screendaily, “We finished our editing and I am still playing Pavarotti every morning.”
However for Howard, the story of the world-renowned Pavarotti was very different to that of The Fab Four, whom he profiled in The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years.
“There’s so much footage and he is so funny and wise and revealing in his interviews so I thought, ‘Let’s let him tell this story.’ It’s really a character study,” said Howard.
The sizzle showed Pavarotti at his first rehearsal with Placido Domingo and José Carreras in their incarnation as The Three Tenors, and previously unseen footage of Pavarotti singing in the Amazon rainforest, where he performed in the 1990s to a deserted Amazon Theatre that featured in the film Fizzcarraldo.
Pavarotti touches on the great tenor’s activism in later life and features on-camera contributions from Bono, and his widow Nicoletta Mantovani. Producer Jeanne Elfant Festa of White Horse Pictures was instrumental in getting the cooperation of Pavarotti’s first wife Adua Veroni, and Mantovani.
“It’s very clear from the film he is a world citizen,” said producer Nigel Sinclair of White Horse Pictures, who collaborated with Howard on The Beatles documentary. Sinclair told Screendaily the music will be mixed in Dolby Atmos. “Pavarotti’s voice has so much texture and listening to it, you can almost feel you can touch it.” Sinclair added that the plan is to play three arias sung by Pavarotti after theatrical presentations as a bonus for cinema-goers.
Earlier this year Imagine Documentaries and White Horse Pictures struck a non-exclusive partnership. “Every [documentary] so far has been a good filmmaking experience,” said Howard. ”I have really enjoyed it. The collaboration is great and virtually the same team that worked on The Beatles. I feel very supported – it’s a great safety net. I’ve been surprised by how much of my own storytelling sensibilities I am able to bring to the films and how much I lean about it.”
Pavarotti is being produced by Polygram Entertainment, Decca Records, Imagine Entertainment, and White Horse Pictures.
EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Documentaries and White Horse Pictures have entered into a multi-year, non-exclusive partnership. The arrangement was brokered by Imagine Entertainment Co-Chairman Michael Rosenberg, Imagine Documentaries President Justin Wilkes and White Horse Pictures Chairman Nigel Sinclair and President Nicholas Ferrall.
They will generate documentaries, which Wilkes will oversee with White Horse’s Docu head Jeanne Elfant-Festa and partner Cassidy Hartmann. Imagine’s expansion into docus was initiated by co-chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.
“Brian, Ron and I have had a long and successful relationship with award-winning producer Nigel Sinclair and White Horse, from the film Rush to the documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years and now on our documentary on world renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti, which is currently in production. We are excited for this opportunity and to be working together in this newly formed partnership,” said Rosenberg.
Said Sinclair: “We have had a great journey with Brian, Ron and Michael. Pavarotti is now our fourth collaboration, and we are very excited to work with Justin and continue our success together.”
Hartmann and Elfant-Festa are currently in production on Roger Ross Williams’ Untitled Apollo Theater Documentary. Elfant-Festa and Sinclair are working with Imagine on the Ron Howard-directed Pavarotti, and Ferrall is leading the Untitled Tupac Shakur Documentary.
With the recent announcement of the New York-based doc group, Imagine has been expanding its footprint in the premium documentary film and non-scripted TV space. Beyond The Beatles docu that Howard directed, they’ve over the years made Jay Z’s Made in America, Prophet’s Prey, Katy Perry: Part of Me, Inside Deep Throat, and Beyond The Mat. In addition to Pavarotti, the company is currently responsible for the hit National Geographic hybrid series Mars and Breakthrough.
Our fellow producer on The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, Jonathan Clyde, worked on the reissue of Derek Taylor’s memoir called As Time Goes By. Derek Taylor played an instrumental role in The Beatles’ career, and was also featured in The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.
First published in 1973, Faber & Faber will reissue As Time Goes By, the memoir of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, in the United States on May 5th, 2018. It features a new introduction by Jon Savage and new artwork.
‘When, in a generation or so, a radio-active, cigar-smoking child, picnicking on Saturn, asks you what the Beatle affair was all about––“Did you actually know them?”––don’t try to explain all about the long hair and the screams! Just play the child a few tracks from this album and he’ll probably understand what it was all about. The kids of AD2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well being and warmth as we do today.’ Derek Taylor: sleeve note to Beatles for Sale, 1964
Arguably the first piece of classic literature to emerge from the much- documented lives of The Fab Four, As Time Goes Byis a mischievous portrait of life as a PR Svengali at the high point of sixties pop.
One of the first sixties pop-cultural history books to be published, As Time Goes By is primarily about The Beatles and Apple but it also takes in Taylor’s sojourn in radical mid-sixties Los Angeles. The twenty-six chapters include material about The Beatles’ frenetic summer 1964 World Tour, The Byrds and the Sunset Strip in 1966 and 1967, and the changes that occurred in Apple between its utopian beginnings in 1967 and The Beatles’ break-up in 1970. With wit, warmth, insider knowledge and a healthy dollop of self-deprecation, Derek Taylor tells the essential story of those extraordinary years: this book is essential for anyone interested in experiencing the flavour of The Beatles and sixties pop and youth culture in a unique, contemporaneous voice.
“An authentic account of the psychedelic 60s and The Beatles from one of the coolest guys in the business.” – Neil Tennant
Derek Taylor was The Beatles’ Press Officer in 1964 and the Apple Press Officer between 1968 and 1970. Between times he represented many acts including The Beach Boys and The Byrds. He continued to work with The Beatles in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly on the Anthology book and film project. He published six books, of which this is the first.